Seniors help Iowa squeak by Minnesota in home finale

Iowa’s seniors stepped up in their final regular season home game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa guard Makenzie Meyer protects the ball during a women's basketball game between Iowa and Minnesota at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 90-82.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

On a special night for the Hawkeyes, things could have gone smoother as they battled the pesky Golden Gophers until the end. However, the team battled and finished strong to the tune of a 90-82 victory on Senior Night.

The added emotion of occasion seemed to have an impact. A ceremony after the game saw Kathleen Doyle, Makenzie Meyer, Paula Vilino Ramos, and Amanda Ollinger honored for their commitment to the team.

“It’s weird balancing going into Senior Night knowing it could be your last game on your home court, but also just maintaining focus on the game,” Doyle said.

Doyle endured a difficult start to the game, turning the ball over several times and going scoreless until there were just two seconds left on the clock in the first quarter. Those free throws extended Iowa’s lead to 10 as the team recovered from a tough start to the quarter with a 10-0 run.

Meyer stepped up with 11 points in the first quarter on her way to 24 points overall — not a bad start to her final regular season home game.

“It’s definitely encouraging as a shooter when you see a couple of your first shots go down, so that helped me stay confident,” Meyer said.

Although Minnesota would go on an 8-0 run of its own to start the second half, Iowa managed to get its lead right back.

Doyle continued to be pushed around in the paint as some frustrations were apparent, but she still managed to get nine points by the half and went to the free-throw line on four separate occasions.

Her points were almost all from the line, as she consistently drew contact.

“I know it’s hard to play through it sometimes, but that’s all you can do. You can’t control it,” Doyle said.

Meyer continued her hot shooting, making a huge 3-pointer to extend Iowa’s lead to nine and forcing a Minnesota timeout midway through the third quarter.

Although the Hawkeyes continued to hold a strong lead, frustrations continued for Iowa as some questionable calls were made — a pattern throughout the game that the team was confident in overcoming.

It was a frustrating game overall, but Iowa found a way to win, just as the team has all year.

Minnesota rallied to within three points with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd rallied, and underclassmen Monika Czinano and Alexis Sevillian made crucial baskets to help Iowa pull ahead for the victory.

The seniors were once again pivotal to the team’s success with each player contributing in their own way. Meyer was the star of the show, hitting a career high six 3’s and recording six assists. Meanwhile, Doyle hit a special mark on the night as she reached 1,500 career points. She added 14 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Ollinger put in another solid performance with six rebounds, four points, and four assists.

Bluder was proud of the group not just for their work tonight, but for the work the seniors have put in every aspect of their life.

“They’re really quality women,” Bluder said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more out of them, so for me it is just hard to lose them.”

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